Teachers Say They Need Bigger Salaries: Survey

More than half of 460 school teachers surveyed said they can not afford to live on their salary and must teach only part-time so that they hold down other jobs in order to survive, according to a new report by the Cambodian In­depen­dent Teacher’s Association.

Only 2.6 percent of the teachers surveyed said the education system in Cambodia is of good quality, while five respondents even admitted to receiving a teac­her’s salary despite not actively working as teachers, according to the union’s report released Wednesday.

The survey was carried out in nine provinces and included primary, secondary and high school teachers, CITA said in the survey.

“Because the teachers’ pay is so low, some teachers are not attending regularly…and they pay kickbacks to the principal of the school to be absent” so that they can work second jobs, CITA Pre­sident Rong Chhun said by telephone.

In Samrithy, executive director of NGO Education Partnership, said during an interview Wednes­day, that full-time teachers are earning a paltry $25 to $30 monthly.

In Samrithy said that low-paid teachers also demand informal fees from students, which affects poor students and their ability to stay in school.

“With such low salaries, teachers charge an extra fee and it really affects the poor, those in rural areas, the disabled and ethnic minorities,” he said, adding that the daily fee students pay can vary from 300 to 500 riel.

“If the family cannot afford the fee, the student cannot remain in school,” he said.

Informal fees were made illegal by the Education Law of 2007.

“The directive to eliminate [illegal fees] is in place, now the problem is how to enforce it,” In Samrithy said.

Education Ministry spokesman In The declined to comment Wednesday on the results of the survey as he had not received them yet.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said by phone Wednesday that morale is low among teachers and that does not make for a good learning environment.

“The biggest problem is the salaries,” he said. “How can they do their jobs properly?”

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